This was the second-to-last Poirot book I had yet to read and, well, it’s perfectly fine. Sadly, that’s a bit of a disappointment because it features crime author Ariadne Oliver as the sidekick, and she’s is always a lot of fun when she pops up. While her presence in it is far more prominent than most of her prior Poirot appearances, and she has a number of clever quips and turns, she’s missing a bit of the depth that she had in say, HALLOWE’EN PARTY.
Concerning Poirot, he’s surprisingly foregrounded and often spends far too much time in his head chewing over the mystery, which I found unusual for a late Poirot book. If it weren’t for the counter-culture facets and drug use, I’d even suspect it of being a previously-discarded draft from the 40s or 50s.
Yes, THIRD GIRL feels a bit padded and routine, but the resolution to the mystery is quite satisfying, except for one potentially creepy aspect that I can’t reveal without spoiling matters. You’ll know it when Christie inserts it into the last few pages.
At least it’s not the last Ariadne novel I have left to read: she’s featured in ELEPHANTS CAN REMEMBER — the final Poirot novel I have left to read — as well as the Poirot-less THE PALE HORSE, currently collecting dust on my over-stacked to-read table.